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Clay Center Board of Directors quarterly meeting touts successes

By Judy Hamilton

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Five months into their fiscal year, the Clay Center Board of Directors learned Thursday from treasurer Chuck Avampato that the organization is "pretty well on track." He credited President Judy Wellington and her staff for making good budgetary choices.

Statements distributed to the members showed that investment fund performance for the quarter was positive. The total fund was valued at $38.8 million. The fund was up 5.47 percent against a policy index of 3.78 percent for the quarter ending Sept. 30.

John Strickland presented an acquisition proposal to the board for Ethan Murrow's 48-inch by 48-inch graphite pencil on paper work titled "O' Pioneers!" The artist created the piece specifically for the "Positions of Power, Land View" exhibit at the Clay Center, which is open through Jan. 5.

Stricker said the Murrow show is popular and the art "would serve as an archival reminder of the exhibition. It is a favorite of those who have seen the exhibit. The piece is a fine example of the artist's ideas, themes and process."

The motion to make the acquisition was approved after discussion with Arif Khan, the Mary Price Ratrie Curator of Art. He explained that the work would be used in a variety of future permanent collection exhibitions.

Wellington said the center "is off to a phenomenal start this season with ticket sales. The performances have been phenomenal as well. Art gallery admissions are above projections, and school attendance and art programs have been extremely well attended, too.

"Several school groups came to see Ethan Murrow. He was extremely gracious taking time to talk to students and the press," Wellington said, noting that the collaboration with the West Virginia Film Festival in showing Murrow's short film "Dust" in October was also a success.

Wellington described maintenance issues with lighting and plumbing. She said that from Jan. 6 through Feb. 15, 2014, the art gallery would be closed for the installation of LED lighting. She said it was superior lighting for artwork and reduces energy consumption, maintenance costs and waste.

On Feb. 15, two new exhibits will open in the art gallery: "Every Living Thing: A Closer Look at Nature" and "Gallery Divided II," showcasing the art of West Virginia University and Marshall University's art faculty.

Friends of Clay Center board chairwoman Kristin Anderson outlined the upcoming fundraiser, "Carnaval Studio 54." She said it would feature the band Celebrity All Stars, as well as DJs and star impersonators. Members were encouraged to purchase tickets as Christmas gifts. Tickets for the Feb. 1 event are $150 each and available at

Horace Emery, chairman of the program, exhibits and education committee, said, "We beat our budgets all around and sold out or almost sold out all our performances." He said the recent collaboration with the Charleston Light Opera Guild for "Les Miserables" was successful with averages of about 1,100 attendees for each of the six performances in November.

John Elliot reported on the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra's Gala Event honoring Sallie McClaugherty and Patrick Bond. "It was a great fundraiser for us. There was a $30,000 anonymous matching gift for the McClaugherty Legacy, and $42,000 has been matched.

In the closing remarks, board member Sue Sergi paid tribute to Ed Maier, an advisory board member, for his years of service to the board. She said it was his last board meeting.

"Ed exemplifies what a board member should be," she said.

Maier responded, "I was following Newt Thomas' lead." He received a standing ovation after his brief remark.

The board members in attendance were Kristin Anderson, Charles M. Avampato, Robert Berthold Jr., Bobby Blakley, Kelly L. Castleberry III, Elizabeth E. Chilton, Fred Clark, Stephen P. Dexter, Fonda Elliot, John Elliot, Horace W. Emery, Alex Franklin, Michael R. Graney, David Haden, Tom Heywood, Lloyd G. Jackson II, Laurance Jones III, Melvin Jones, Virginia King, Ken Kleeman, Charles W. Loeb Jr., Sallie McClaugherty, Kyle Mork, Nate Orders, David Ramsey, Sue Sergi, Reed Spangler, John Strickland, Andrew K. Teeter, Gayle Twigger-Shaw, Grace Vandecruze, and Judith Wellington.

Advisory board members in attendance were Edward C. Armbrecht, Ed Maier, Callen McJunkin and Newton L. Thomas.Reach Judy E. Hamilton at or 304-348-1230.


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